First Fires - $20
Minutes after birth you held my head to your lips and whispered, “Difficulties are fires.” It came unbidden, unplanned. Your mother’s voice speaking through you. Ma would have been horrified. She would have accused you of being irresponsible. Failing in your first duty to me as a father. You never told anyone that you had whispered your mother’s words to me before the Azan except me. You couldn’t wait to tell me.
In the early seventies, a father defies the two-child policy in Singapore and insists on a third. He wants a second son to help protect his frail daughter Sarah. When another daughter is born, he breaks with Islamic tradition and whispers a personal mantra into the ears of his new-born daughter Sal. As she grows up, she hears her father repeat these words.
Twenty-five years later, Sal loses her way as she struggles against the tide of pragmatism that surrounds her. As her family try desperately to look for her by sifting through their own memories of their lives together, Sal reaches out to her dead father and attempts to fight the fires within her.
What We Inherit: Growing Up Indian - $15
A celebration of the slippages, strife and secret histories that make us—for better or worse—who we are.
A woman faces off against a xenophobic stranger across a supermarket turnstile.
A young girl mistakes her first period for strawberry yoghurt and endures an embarrassing puberty ceremony.
At the funeral of her cruel and prejudiced dadhi, a granddaughter reflects on the confusions of grief and the trauma passed through family lines.
A follow-up to the best-selling anthology Growing Up Perempuan (AWARE, 2018), What We Inherit tells the stories of Indian women (and a few men) in Singapore entirely in their own words. They question the expectations foisted upon them, discover new avenues into old traditions and carve out spaces for joy amid anger and sorrow. At a time when the bonds between us seem at constant risk of breaking, What We Inherit turns our attention towards community in all its complexities. It’s a reminder of how we honour, betray and ultimately bear witness to each other… and ourselves.
Published by AWARE. Distributed by Ethos Books. Featuring contributions by:
Akshita Nanda, Balli Kaur Jaswal, Constance Singam, Kelly Kaur, Mandakini Arora, Matilda Gabrielpillai, Pooja Nansi, Prasanthi Ram, Ranjana Raghunathan, Sharul Channa, and more
In This Desert, There Were Seeds - $24
Endangered tigers connecting telepathically through time-travel; a guard’s ethical dilemma at a history museum; a slaughterhouse worker’s memories of his dead wife; a monochrome town upended by a wild watermelon…
In This Desert, There Were Seeds is an intimate collection of past and future dreams, featuring exciting new and established literary voices from Western Australia and Singapore. From our shifting sense of community and identity, to our frustrations with existing political, social and economic structures--this anthology transcends boundaries and captures the persistence of ordinary lives in deserts literal and metaphorical.
Making Kin: Ecofeminist Essays from Singapore - $27
Making Kin: Ecofeminist Essays from Singapore contemplates and re-centres Singapore women in the overlapping discourses of family, home, ecology and nation. For the first time, this collection of ecofeminist essays focuses on the crafts, minds, bodies and subjectivities of a diverse group of women making kin with the human and non-human world as they navigate their lives.
From ruminations on caregiving, to surreal interspecies encounters, to indigenous ways of knowing, these women writers chart a new path on the map of Singapore’s literary scene, writing urgently about gender, nature, climate change, reciprocity and other critical environmental issues.
In a climate-changed world where vital connections are lost, Making Kin is an essential collection that blurs boundaries between the personal and the political. It is a revolutionary approach towards intersectional environmentalism.
The Orchid Folios - $20
“When you take an orchid out of its pot, you must first loosen the roots’ hold on the soil. Late last evening as I unravelled the braids of the shattered phalaenopsis, I saw how the ends were white and shrivelled from neglect. You have to do it gently--it’s like combing hair. I remember Mum’s fingers running through mine, and mine through hers, until the final months when all of it started to fall.”
A pot shatters. An arrangement falls apart. A florist finds herself amidst the scattered leaves of history. At once a poetry collection and a documentary novella, The Orchid Folios reimagines the orchid as a living, breathing document of history: a history that enmeshes the personal, colonial, linguistic, and biotechnological with the Vanda Miss Joaquim, the symbol of Singapore’s postcolonial hybridity. While the Orchid has shaped the fantastical narratives that govern our multiracial City in a Garden, it continues to shape-shift and bloom on its own terms, challenging us to imagine a decolonised Singapore. This is the organism at the heart of The Orchid Folios—by turns stark and unruly, documenting and challenging the narratives that are the roots of our national consciousness.
Singa-Pura-Pura: Malay Speculative Fiction from Singapore - $21
From a future of electronic doas and AI psychotherapists, sense-activated communion with forests and a portal to realms undersea, to a reimagined origin and afterlife—editor and translator Nazry Bahrawi brings together an exciting selection of never-before translated and new Malay spec-fic stories by established and emerging writers from Singapore.
Especially in an anglophone-dominated genre, very little of Malay speculative fiction from Singapore is known to readers here and beyond. Yet contemporary Bahasa literature here is steeped in spec-fic writing that can account as a literary movement (aliran)—and unmistakably draws from the minority Malay experience in a city obsessed with progress.
Poetry Moves: An Anthology of Poetry - $17
This anthology collects over 100 poems from Singapore, Asia and around the world, and is aimed at the adolescent reader. It seeks to cultivate a love of poetry and an exploration of real-world issues through verse among teenage readers.
The anthology will include work by well-known authors from Singapore such as Edwin Thumboo, Arthur Yap, Wong May, Lee Tzu Pheng, Aaron Maniam, Mohamed Latiff Mohamed, Pooja Nansi and Alfian Sa’at, as well as poets from abroad. The author list includes Seamus Heaney (Ireland), Li-Young Lee (USA), Boey Kim Cheng (Singapore- Australia), Sujata Bhatt (India), Carol Ann Duffy (UK), Gwendolyn Brooks (USA) and Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún (Nigeria).
Alongside these established names, the anthology will feature newer voices like Jennifer Anne Champion (Singapore), Anitha Devi Pillai (Singapore), Ocean Vuong (Vietnamese- American), Kaveh Akbar (Iranian-American) and Dhiyanah Hassan (Malaysia), as well as a handful of translated works.
This anthology encourages the comparative reading of poetry from Singapore and around the globe, for it is only in understanding others that one begins to understand self and the world.
For teachers, the aim of this anthology is three-fold:
Eating Chilli Crab in the Anthropocene - $25
In this era of climate crisis, in which our very futures are at stake, sustainability is a global imperative. Yet we tend to associate sustainability, nature, and the environment with distant places, science, and policy. The truth is that everything is environmental, from transportation to taxes, work to love, cities to cuisine.
This book is the first to examine contemporary Singapore from an ecocultural lens, looking at the ways that Singaporean life and culture is deeply entangled with the nonhuman lives that flourish all around us. The authors represent a new generation of cultural critics and environmental thinkers, who will inherit the future we are creating today. From chilli crab to Tiger Beer, Changi Airport to Pulau Semakau, O-levels to orang minyak films, these essays offer fresh perspectives on familiar subjects, prompting us to recognise the incredible urgency of climate change and the need to transform our ways of thinking, acting, learning, living, and governing so as to maintain a stable planet and a decent future.